A volunteer police officer is behind bars, accused of beating a 4-year-old boy badly enough to cause a severe brain injury.
Michael Abo, 34, was arrested Saturday at his house in Sheridan. Police said the victim was found at the home on New Year's Eve with severe injuries and was taken to Oregon Health & Science University.
Hospital workers said he was in critical condition Monday night.
"It just break my heart, a part of me has been stripped away, I'm just so so angry," said the boy's grandfather Steve Sengezer.
"When I saw him News Year's night, I fell to the floor. I could not believe that was my Grandson in the hospital bed, with stitches all over his head, and his golden locks shaved away."
Sengezer tells FOX 12 his grandson survived the unthinkable, but doctors have told him because of his injuries, he will likely never walk, or talk again.
"Every time I go in to see him, it just kills me, it rips me apart. He's never going to be the boy that we know running around and playing, and saying hi to everyone. He will never be able to ride a bike, or even fall in love," said Sengezer.
"No child should have to be going through what my Grandson went through, he went through holy hell, and it breaks my heart."
Abo appeared in court Monday via video. He is charged with four counts of assault and criminal mistreatment.
Abo pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents, investigators said Abo tried to hide the bruises and injuries from the child's mother, who is his girlfriend, for weeks.
Abo's girlfriend and her son moved in with him in December, according to police records. She works in Vancouver, so Abo has been taking care of the boy during the day and into the evening.
Police said Abo claimed the boy fell from a stairwell and that's how he got hurt.
According to court records, the child suffered seven broken ribs, a torn intestine and a severe brain injury. Doctors told police the boy also had bruising on his left eye, forehead, both legs, left arm, stomach and pelvic area.
Doctors ruled the injuries were from blunt force trauma.
Doctors said the brain injury would not be consistent with a fall from a stairwell, according to reports connected to the investigation.
When police questioned the boy's mother, she said Abo would not allow her to bathe or clothe the boy recently, so she never saw the bruises, according to a probable cause document.
The one bruise she did see, according to court documents, was a bruise on his arm. She said Abo told her that it was from teaching the boy how to wrestle.
She also told investigators that her son began to exhibit behavioral changes when they moved into Abo's home.
Abo is a reserve officer with the Yamhill Police Department, but Chief Greg Graven issued a statement saying he hasn't put in any hours since August because of a private, personnel issue.
Abo became a volunteer reserve officer with the department in January of 2013 and logged a total of 124 hours.
Abo was formerly a deputy with the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office. He was honored in April of 2012, according to Fox 12 records, and credited with saving a woman's life on a Sheridan bridge while he was on duty.
Because of his positions in law enforcement in Yamhill County, police said he's being held at the Washington County Jail for his own safety.
Abo is due back in court Wednesday.
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